Vaginal discharge is normal and natural. This discharge is produced by the cervix and the wall of the vagina. And sometimes this spills out. Healthy discharge is white, liquid and transparent. It can smell a little sour, but can also be odourless. There are a number of situations where women can experience vaginal discharge:
- Before your period or when you have your period.
- If you’re aroused.
- During pregnancy.
- If you’re taking a contraceptive pill.
- If you’re in the menopause.
- If you have a diaphragm.
The discharge can also be different from normal and you could be suffering from various underlying complaints.
You should have no symptoms with normal discharge. With abnormal discharge you may suffer from:
- Discharge which is slightly crumbly.
- More discharge than you are used to.
- Discharge which has a different colour. For example, the discharge can have a greenish-yellow colour or a snow-white colour.
- Blood in the discharge.
- Discharge which smells foul or odd.
Abnormal vaginal discharge can also cause:
- Burning around and in the vagina.
- Pain during sex.
- Pain when urinating.
You may experience abnormal vaginal discharge in the following situations:
- If you wash your vagina with soap or rinse too often.
- If you have a compromised immune system.
- If you’re taking antibiotics.
- If you’re pregnant.
- If you have bacteria in your vagina which doesn’t belong there.
- If you have a STD (sexually transmitted disease).
- Wash your vagina with lukewarm water and dab it dry.
- Try not to scratch if you’re itchy. You can easily damage the inside of your vagina with this.
- Make sure your vagina is moist during intercourse. Dry sex can damage the vagina and cause irritation.
- Do not use spermicidal lubricants. This can change the bacteria in your vagina.
- Use a condom when having sex. Especially if you have sex with different people. This can protect you against a STD.
Contact your GP if:
- You have pain or a burning sensation when urinating.
- You have severe vaginal itching.
- The amount of discharge has increased and it has lasted a long time.
- The colour of your discharge is different (brown, greenish-yellow or snow-white).
- You’re not on your period and have blood in your discharge.
- You suspect you may have a STD.
- You have pain in your lower abdomen.
- The complaints still have not decreased, or have actually worsened, after four weeks.
- You are younger than 16 years old.
- You start experiencing abnormal discharge after going through the menopause.